Because every American
should have access
to broadband Internet.

The Internet Innovation Alliance is a broad-based coalition of business and non-profit organizations that aim to ensure every American, regardless of race, income or geography, has access to the critical tool that is broadband Internet. The IIA seeks to promote public policies that support equal opportunity for universal broadband availability and adoption so that everyone, everywhere can seize the benefits of the Internet - from education to health care, employment to community building, civic engagement and beyond.

The Podium

Blog posts tagged with 'Iia'

Friday, October 07

Response to FCC Chairman Wheeler


Earlier today, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler released the summary of his intended regulation of Business Data Services (BDS). Here is IIA’s response:

Today, we witness, with great disappointment, the FCC Chairman’s plan to re-regulate all copper-based legacy business data services throughout the nation. We fear that American businesses and consumers will ultimately be ill-served by an expert agency that ignores record evidence of robust competition in the market and instead opts for market intervention to favor certain service providers to the disadvantage of others. We hope that a majority at the agency will recognize the potential harm of this plan and will call for a return to long-held bi-partisan policies aimed at spurring innovation and promoting greater broadband infrastructure investment.


Friday, August 07

Reactions to the Latest FCC IP Transition Order

By Brad

That above quote, in response to the FCC’s latest vote, was echoed by both AT&T Vice President Frank Simone and US Telecom Senior Vice President Jon Banks. From Simone’s blog post reacting to the order:

“The FCC cannot call on the industry to invest in more fiber deployment, raise the bar for what qualifies as a broadband service and then make it more difficult to retire services that do not even qualify as broadband.  We share the Commission’s goal to protect consumers as this revolutionary technological movement continues. But requiring carriers to prolong the use of and maintain an outdated infrastructure is not the way to go about doing that.”

From Banks’ reaction:

USTelecom members have been investing billions of dollars every year to deliver modern broadband services that far surpass the capabilities of older networks to businesses and consumers across the country… These investments to deliver better, faster, more reliable modern services make up the essential compact between providers and customers. We are concerned that today’s FCC Orders handicap delivering on this compact in the name of keeping a regulatory structure under which Fax machines provide a communication service of such importance that they must be preserved.

And, last but not least, from our own response to the vote:

Giving a select group of competitors, which continue to rely on the copper telephone network due to their failure to invest in their own advanced networks, the ability to influence copper retirement plans creates harmful market incentives that ultimately favor some providers over others, and runs contrary to the Administration and FCC’s National Broadband Plan goal of modernizing our nation’s communications networks for the benefit of the American consumer.

Thursday, August 06

A Missed Opportunity


Following the FCC’s tech transition vote, IIA released the following statement:

The FCC today missed a unique opportunity to accelerate the nation’s transition toward an IP future.

With less than five percent of Americans relying exclusively on traditional, copper-line plain old telephone service (POTS), and three out of four communications users having already transitioned onto IP-based services, setting ‘rules of the road’ to protect consumers and advance these modern services is appropriate, welcomed, and timely.

Today’s FCC decision, however, takes an unnecessary and harmful detour to the past. Instead of focusing exclusively on how to accelerate IP-based broadband network investment, deployment and consumer adoption, the Commission has chosen to micromanage life support for the fading wireline copper network.

The agency’s action translates into burdensome rules that create greater obstacles to retiring antiquated 20th century copper-based telephone equipment. By impeding the retirement of outdated technology, the FCC’s requirements will divert resources necessary to invest in the upgrade toward new, next-generation, high-speed broadband Internet networks.

Giving a select group of competitors, which continue to rely on the copper telephone network due to their failure to invest in their own advanced networks, the ability to influence copper retirement plans creates harmful market incentives that ultimately favor some providers over others, and runs contrary to the Administration and FCC’s National Broadband Plan goal of modernizing our nation’s communications networks for the benefit of the American consumer.

Today’s consumers want the benefits of high-speed, reliable IP-based networks, and there is no turning back. Americans stream millions of hours of video content, stay in touch with friends and family in video chats daily, and are integrating online learning into their lives at a rapid pace. The new world we have entered relies on these services and untold others that we can’t predict today. It’s important for industry and the FCC to give consumers more access to the benefits on the horizon—with common sense rules—and not hold on to the sentiments of the past.

IIA supports a wired network transition that makes IP-based networks and services more widely available and improves the quality of life for all Americans. We believe the Commission should embrace initiatives that speed the nation toward an IP-based future, and revisit and reject those that unnecessarily anchor us to the past.”

Thursday, May 07

Commissioner Clyburn on Lifeline Reform

By Brad

FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn has penned an op-ed for Multichannel News on the need to reform the Commission’s Lifeline program. An excerpt:

The FCC’s Lifeline program, originally established in 1985, was designed to ensure that Americans have universal access to telephone service because it was found that such access was “crucial to full participation in our society and economy, which are increasingly depending upon the rapid exchange of information.” The FCC emphasized at the time that its “responsibilities under the Communications Act require us to take steps … to prevent degradation of universal service and the division of our society …  into information ‘haves’ and ‘have nots.’ ”
Today, a full three decades after the creation of Lifeline, the program still only funds voice service. It has been stuck in a bygone era since its inception and is in need of serious reform.

Commissioner Clyburn goes on to list her recommendations for reform, which include:

• Establishing minimum service standards for any provider that receives a Lifeline subsidy. This will ensure that we get the most value for each universal service dollar spent and better service for Lifeline recipients.

• Relieving providers of responsibility for determining customer eligibility. Lifeline is the only federal benefit program I know of where the provider determines the consumer’s eligibility. That must cease. For providers, this change would yield significant administrative savings, and for consumers, it would bring dignity to the program experience.

• Leveraging efficiencies from existing programs. A coordinated enrollment system would allow customers to enroll in Lifeline at the same time that they apply for other benefit programs; and

• Instituting public-private partnerships and coordinated outreach efforts. The lack of a centralized effort is leaving too many who qualify behind.

Commissioner Clyburn’s recommendations dovetail nicely with IIA’s own assessment of how best to bring Lifeline into the digital age. As we outlined in our white paper “Bringing the FCC’s Lifeline Program Into the 21st Century,” there are four key steps the FCC should make:

• Bring the Lifeline Program into the 21st Century by making broadband a key part of the program’s rubric;

• Empower consumers by providing the subsidy directly to eligible people instead of companies;

• Level the playing field between service providers to broaden consumer choice and stimulate competition for their purchasing power;

• Safeguard and simplify the program by taking administration away from companies that are not accountable to the American public, instead vesting that governmental responsibility with an appropriate government agency.

Wednesday, February 04

Boucher and Irving of IIA Caution against FCC’s Imminent Net Neutrality Action


Says Congress should resolve the Open Internet debate with targeted legislation aimed at reinstating the 2010 Open Internet Rules and not imposing public utility regulation on broadband

WASHINGTON, D.C. – February 4, 2015 –  In response to press reports highlighting the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) policy direction on new Open Internet rules, IIA issued the following statements from Rick Boucher, a former Democratic congressman who chaired the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and the Internet and serves as honorary chairman of the Internet Innovation Alliance (IIA), and former Assistant Secretary of Commerce under Clinton – now IIA Founding Co-Chairman – Larry Irving:

From Congressman Boucher:

“I urge Chairman Wheeler to reconsider his plan to treat broadband services under common carrier rules. Subjecting broadband to public utility regulation under Title II is unnecessary for assuring continued Internet openness and would carry deeply harmful consequences. Internet infrastructure investment would be stifled at a time when we have a national goal of extending high-speed Internet service to 98 percent of Americans.

“A better way to preserve the open Internet, protect consumers and promote innovation is to encourage the private investment necessary to support the deployment of high-speed, next-generation broadband nationwide. I’m confident in Congress’ ability to secure a win for our nation with a bi-partisan legislative solution that empowers the FCC to re-promulgate the 2010 Open Internet Rule but precludes the imposition of onerous Title II regulations. This outcome would protect the Open Internet by remedying the D.C. Circuit’s objection that the Commission lacks the statutory authority to act and maintain the existing light-touch regulatory environment that is welcoming to high-speed broadband investment.”

From Larry Irving:

“Imposing Title II regulation on broadband Internet primarily will benefit lawyers. Endless litigation will create additional uncertainty in the market and impact Internet innovation and investment as companies and investors try to figure out what provisions do or do not apply in a new Title II world.

“Democrats primarily have driven the net neutrality debate, but today Republicans in Congress stand ready to work on a bipartisan basis on legislation aimed to ‘keep the Internet open.’  If an open Internet is the goal, why is the only acceptable mechanism for achieving that goal a centuries-old regulatory framework? Preserving the open Internet through bi-partisan legislation, achieving and declaring victory on an important issue, steering clear of interminable and disruptive litigation, and reducing consumer costs by veering away from antiquated Title II regulation would seem to be the better alternative.

“For more than two decades, from the earliest days of the Internet, I along with most Democrats involved in development of our nation’s Internet policy, have advocated a light regulatory touch for the Internet. I still believe that to be preferable to utility-style regulation for the fast-moving and constantly evolving Internet. But, as important, to craft the right solution for America, we need to end the partisan politics around the Open Internet issue and work towards and embrace bi-partisan solutions.”

Monday, November 10

The Great “How to Regulate Broadband” Debate


The President got this one wrong. Since the dawn of commercial Internet access during the Clinton Administration, light-touch regulation has guided its development and explosive growth. It has helped encourage continuous innovation, spur massive investment, and provide consumers with new services and applications in a competitive digital marketplace. The choice is clear: we can stay the course and promote 21st century technologies or turn back the clock and return to a 20th century, Title II-regulated utility model at the expense of the American consumer.

Thursday, November 06

Lifeline White Paper


Our new white paper, “Bringing the FCC’s Lifeline Program into the 21st Century,” calls for fundamental reform of the Federal Communications Commission’s existing Lifeline Program to provide access and enhanced consumer choice to 21st Century broadband services for the nation’s low-income consumers.

“The FCC’s Lifeline Program is a 20th Century government program aimed at spreading a 19th Century technology, voice service. It’s time to start a new conversation in Washington on how best to provide America’s low-income communities with greater access to 21st Century broadband communications services.”

— former Congressman, and Honorary Chairman of IIA, Rick Boucher

In our report, we highlight how this antiquated, cumbersome and complex program currently perpetuates a market imbalance that obligates only wireline telephone providers to participate and maintain the administrative systems and processes required to operate the program. 

We recommend streamlining the program to provide the flexibility necessary to broaden participation among various communications providers to help bring the benefits of competition to low-income consumers — more innovation, better service, lower prices—while also lowering administrative costs. One step toward attaining this goal is to transition the current program toward a voucher model, by providing eligible consumers with a “Lifeline Benefit Card” that empowers them to purchase a range of communications services, including broadband, wireline or wireless voice services.

Today, service providers determine the eligibility of consumers for the Lifeline subsidy. The white paper recommends that, given the economic incentives that service providers have to increase enrollment, eligibility determinations for Lifeline benefits and core program administration oversight should be performed by a governmental agency rather than by communications service providers.

Our report offers the following recommendations on how best to modernize and transition the Lifeline program so that it can help ensure next-generation broadband access for low-income consumers:

1. Bring the Lifeline Program into the 21st Century by making broadband a key part of the program’s rubric;

2. Empower consumers by providing the subsidy directly to eligible people instead of companies;

3. Level the playing field between service providers to broaden consumer choice and stimulate competition for their purchasing power;

4. Safeguard and simplify the program by taking administration away from companies that are not accountable to the American public, instead vesting that governmental responsibility with an appropriate government agency.

“Only five percent of U.S. consumers still rely solely on the antiquated, circuit-switched telephone network for their communications needs. This trend is reflected in the FCC’s Lifeline Program, with 80 percent of its dollars currently going to wireless carriers.

As consumers abandon their wireline telephones for modern broadband services, the Lifeline Program — adopted during the 1980s — should be modernized and upgraded to reflect the realities of the current IP-based world. Expanding the program to focus on broadband, and simplifying its administration to welcome participation by more service providers, will help millions more Americans access modern communications services.”

— former Congressman, and Honorary Chairman of IIA, Rick Boucher

Download “Bringing the FCC’s Lifeline Program into the 21st Century” (PDF)

Thursday, October 09

Killer Apps in the Gigabit Age: Rewind

By Brad

If you missed our event today with the Pew Research Center, you can watch the archived video below.

Friday, February 21

Welcoming a New Broadband Ambassador

By Brad

 photo Ramos_Small_zps855fae20.jpg

We’re excited to announce we’ve added another stellar name to our Broadband Ambassadors. Kristian Ramos is a Public Relations Strategist with experience working with both the House and Senate. His most recent gig was with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

Earlier this week, Ramos penned a piece for the Huffington Post on the need to update the 1996 Telecommunications Act. Here’s an excerpt:

Our new younger and ethnically diverse populations are already interacting with broadband in a huge way. For example according to Nielson, Hispanic consumers adopt smartphones at a higher rate than any other demographic group and watch more hours of videos online and on their mobile phones than the average American. But we need them and other segments of our new America to engage more in the opportunities that broadband technologies provide.

In order to ensure that these new broadband apps and services continue to benefit consumers, Hispanics or otherwise, one aspect must be addressed - what is the proper regulatory framework that should be in place to provide the best incentives for creators to innovate and for carriers to build out nationwide all broadband networks? How do we reach more of our diverse nation?

Check out Ramos’ full op-ed at the Huffington Post.

Wednesday, February 19

Let’s Get Nerdy – Episode One


We’re excited to announce a new video series we’ve put together that we’re calling “Let’s Get Nerdy.” The goal is to take tech policy issues that are currently top of mind in our nation’s capital and explain how they are relevant to Americans across the map. With a series of questions, an expert will guide us through a deep-dive into the topic of the month.

For our first installment, we interviewed a lawmaking legend (who also happens to be our Honorary Chairman), former Congressman Rick Boucher. Congressman Boucher was a key participant in the construction of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, and here he answers three questions about a huge initiative being spearheaded by the House Energy & Commerce Committee to update the Telecommunications Act to reflect the technology of today.

Ready to get nerdy? Let’s go!

At the Silicon Flatirons conference, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler shared this excerpt from the book Digital Crossroads. “When, in 1996, Congress last enacted major revisions to the [Telecommunications] Act, it did not clearly foresee the rise of broadband Internet access services, let alone their eventual centrality to all forms of electronic communications.” What did the market look like in 1996, and how has it changed?

In a recent editorial for The Hill newspaper, you pointed out that most consumers — essentially, anyone who has a cellphone or who gets telephone service from a cable provider — have already made the switch to 21st century high-speed broadband networks without government action. What role can Congress and the FCC play to accelerate and complete the so-called IP (or Internet Protocol) Transition?

The IP Transition is fundamental to the mobile revolution of which we’re all a part. Consumers have proven that they have an insatiable thirst for wireless services that run on the limited, invisible airwaves known as spectrum. As it looks to update the Telecommunications Act, what can the House Energy & Commerce Committee do to help ensure that carriers like T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint have the spectrum needed to keep up with consumer demand?

Our thanks to Congressman Boucher for sharing his unique perspective on regulatory modernization as a key architect of the ‘96 Telecommunications Act. Until next time, stay nerdy!

Thursday, January 30

IIA Backs FCC Action to Initiate Local, High-Speed Broadband Network Demonstration Projects


Says FCC-monitored trials will bring the nation one step closer to completing the transition to 21st Century modern broadband-enabled communications networks

WASHINGTON, D.C. – January 30, 2014 – Responding to today’s Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) action to “authorize voluntary experiments to measure the impact on consumers of technology transitions in communications networks,” the Internet Innovation Alliance (IIA) today issued the following statement:

“In launching a national framework for local trials of state-of-the-art broadband networks, the FCC ushers in the dawn of a new era of expanded consumer benefits and increased economic growth. Accelerating the ‘fourth network revolution’ will help unleash consumer benefits in education, healthcare, energy, business and rural development.

“We applaud the FCC’s new framework that enables stakeholders to address—in an open and transparent manner—the challenges posed by the nationwide move to next-generation broadband networks and creates an opportunity to establish consumer protections to ensure we ‘leave no one behind’ and pave the way for an easy and rapid transition for America’s consumers and businesses.

“We hope that, in the days ahead, the FCC’s vision for local market trials will mean more rapid deployment of next-generation networks that provide new broadband choices, better products, services and devices with enhanced functionality. Upgrading the nation’s communications infrastructure will fuel our economy, maximize investment and promote America’s global competitiveness. Conducting geographically-limited, closely-monitored IP demonstrations with consumer protections in place will build on the momentum of two-thirds of American households already choosing to live in an all-IP world.”

Wednesday, August 07

Statement on Our Reply Comments to the FCC



IIA Urges FCC to Move Forward to Approve “Real-World Trials” to Accelerate Transition to High-Speed Broadband Internet Services across America

Says regional market trials will provide FCC with evidence to develop forward-looking, pro-investment, pro-consumer policies for build out of next-generation, IP-enabled networks and services

WASHINGTON, D.C. – August 7, 2013 – The Internet Innovation Alliance (IIA) today issued the following statement based on its Reply Comments to the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) request for input on the proposed “real-world trials” designed to advance the transition toward nationwide consumer access to next-generation Internet Protocol (IP)-based networks and services:

“Local market trials provide the next step toward speeding the modernization of America’s legacy telephone networks. Initiating market trials for IP network deployment would continue innovation and enhance economic growth resulting from the deployment of next-generation technologies. The Commission’s principal focus should be on how high-speed broadband networks should replace antiquated telephone networks and how market trials can contribute to the development of a new regulatory model that promotes broadband growth, increases subscribership and maintains fundamental and essential consumer protections.

“Real-world market trials offer the best means for assessing the costs and benefits of accelerating the IP Transition and should not be used to help advance certain outmoded business models. Fear of theoretical and unproven harm to certain competitor business models dependent on never-changing regulatory mandates is simply not a compelling reason for inaction. The trials represent a unique window of opportunity to gather information to ensure that the IP Transition will occur with minimal disruption to consumers.

“Market trials should proceed under the same lighter regulatory framework applied to other rapidly-proliferating IP networks, rather than the outmoded and shrinking TDM-based networks. Any market trial should enable IP-based networks to demonstrate their capabilities and the impact of the transition on consumers subject to the same real-world environment in which all other IP networks currently operate. A regulatory hand applying pressure on the scale and conditioning the trials toward certain outcomes is, of course, a prescription for trials that will not be truly scientific and will fail to achieve their basic purpose. Just as we seek to avoid locking in old technology, such as the rotary phone or dial-up Internet service, the nation cannot afford to permanently lock-in old rules that would ultimately harm innovation, job creation and economic growth.” 

You can read our full comments both here and at the FCC website.

Monday, July 15

IIA Roundtable Recap

By Brad

This morning, IIA held a roundtable on technology and education with keynote speaker Joshua P. Starr, Superintendant of Montgomery County schools in Virginia.

Among the attendees were representatives from the Committee for Education Funding and online learning organization Apollo Group, which is the parent company of the University of Phoenix. Also attending was Lynh Bui of The Washington Post, who filed a report on the event.

Thursday, June 27

Highlights From the “X-Factor”

By Brad

Yesterday, IIA partnered with the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies and the Digital Policy Institute to host “X-Factors of Tech Policy Today: Keeping Pace in the Broadband Race.”

Participating in the discussion were:

Ralph B. Everett, Esq. – President and CEO, Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies
Robert Yadon, Ph.D. – Director, Digital Policy Institute
Barry Umansky, J.D. – Senior Fellow, Digital Policy Institute
Rick Boucher – Former Congressman; Honorary Chairman, Internet Innovation Alliance
Maurita Coley, Esq. – Vice President and COO, Minority Media and Telecommunications Council
John Horrigan Ph.D. – Vice President and Director, Media and Technology Institute, Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies
Louis Peraertz, Esq. – Legal Advisor, Wireless, International and Public Safety, Office of Acting FCC Chairwoman Mignon C. Clyburn

After Ralph Everett welcomed the crowd and made introductions, Robert Yadon kicked things off by highlighting struggles in the state of Illinois to fully take advantage of technology as a driver of economic recovery. By increasing STEM graduate rates and creating a climate of entrepreneurship, Yadon argued, Illinois could greatly benefit. “States with a solid fiscal policy, light regulatory touch, and educated workforce are most attractive for business and investment,” Yadon said. “The same is true at the national level.”

During the panel discussion, moderator Barry Umansky went right at the issue of spectrum:

One key element of the IP transition is global wireless, which depends upon spectrum. Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Justice suggested that in the upcoming incentive auctions, limits be imposed on the ability of the larger wireless carriers to participate. Why is or isn’t this a good idea?

Tackling the question, our own Rick Boucher highlighted the fact that mobile data services are growing at five times the rate of the national economy. “This is a consumer issue,” Boucher said. “Consumers have the right to assume that carriers will be able to meet increasing demand.”

Boucher also warned that limiting participation from some carriers would negatively impact more than consumers, stating:

Government needs revenue from the incentive auctions in order to build out the first responder network. Broadcasters have also been promised revenue from putting forward spectrum for auction. The more bidders included in the process, the more revenue will be generated, and the more broadcasters will be willing to provide spectrum.”

All the panelists agreed that freeing up more spectrum for wireless as especially critical for minority and economically disadvantaged communities, which are embracing mobile broadband are a rapid rate. As Minority Media and Telecommunications Council Vice President and COO Maurita Coley put it:

Policies should encourage moving forward with auctions and bringing spectrum to market, and ensure that minority entrepreneurs have the opportunity to participate in auctions. The FCC has the ability to ensure that minority and underserved consumers are not left behind.

The other hot topic during the discussion was the coming transition to all-IP networks. As Umansky asked the panelists:

The FCC Technical Advisory Committee, formerly headed by Chairman Nominee Tom Wheeler, has recommended that the FCC take the steps necessary to sunset the PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) by 2016. What are the policy implications of a near-term sunset for broadband deployment and consumers?

In response, Rick Boucher pointed out that current regulations are getting in the way of progress:

While only 25% of customers remain on [the PSTN] network, carriers are forced by law to maintain 100% of the old networks, and the cost of carriers maintaining older networks is the opportunity cost of investment in the new ones.

Boucher also encouraged the Commission to help speed up the transition to all-IP networks. “Consumer interest must be regarded as an informed priority,” he said. “A faster sunset will mean a faster delivery to consumers of services over modern networks.”

Back to the topic of competition, a member of the audience asked what the FCC’s ideal number of players was for a competitive marketplace. In response, Peraertz said:

For [Acting FCC Chairwoman] Mignon Clyburn, there is no set number of players. We look for ways to take a more detailed look at wireless market structure and promoting access for low income and underserved communities.

These were just some of the many highlights from what turned out to be a lively and highly informative discussion. If you’d like to watch the entire event, archived video is available here.

Wednesday, June 26

X-Factors Replay

By Brad

If you missed our “X-Factors of Tech Policy Today” discussion this morning, here’s video of the event. Our thanks to the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, the Digital Policy Institute, and all the speakers for a lively and important discussion.

Video streaming by Ustream

Tuesday, May 14

Right Direction, Wrong Speed


Late last week, the FCC’s Technology Transitions Policy Task Force announced it was issuing Public Notice seeking comment on proposed “beta” trials to transition America’s networks to all-IP. Below are reactions to the announcement from IIA leadership.

From Honorary Chairman and former Congressman Rick Boucher:

”The FCC’s recognition of the importance of the move from TDM to all-IP networks is a welcome building block, but it’s disappointing that comprehensive IP transition trials have not been authorized.  Only through a comprehensive examination can potential issues be identified and addressed and consumers be protected.”

From Co-Chairman Bruce Mehlman:

“The Commission is steering in the right direction, but traveling at the wrong speed. Fully committing to all-IP networks would bring the greatest benefits to consumers and best-equip America to compete on a global scale. Baby steps won’t keep pace with technology.”

From Co-Chairman Jamal Simmons:

“The three areas on which the FCC seeks comment are all important pieces of the puzzle, but instead of a piecemeal approach to figuring out challenges with the IP Transition, the Commission should quickly adopt a holistic strategy, including well-defined trials in designated wire centers, to bring broadband-enabled benefits in health care, education and entrepreneurship to all Americans.”

For further reading, check out FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai’s statement on the FCC’s Public Notice.


Wednesday, February 20

On the FCC Decision to Make More Spectrum Available for Unlicensed Devices in the 5 GHz Band


We applaud the FCC’s notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) that seeks to explore the possible future release of frequencies in the 5 MHz band for Wi-Fi.

As more Americans continue to depend on the anytime, anywhere advantages of mobile technology — the nation faces new opportunities and challenges in making next-generation services more widely accessible to the public. Explosive growth in wireless broadband services continues as consumers’ demand for the latest mobile devices, services and applications increases the need for additional spectrum in the wireless market. Government must take a multi-pronged approach to alleviate the imminent spectrum crunch to advance the benefits of wireless broadband for all Americans.

Allocating the 5 GHz band for unlicensed Wi-Fi devices makes sense, given that it provides limited geographic coverage to avoid radio frequency interference. Consumers stand to benefit from this unlicensed spectrum through increased speeds and decreased congestion at a variety of locations including airports, Internet cafes and community anchor institutions across the nation.

Beyond this proceeding, the FCC should move quickly to launch its incentive auction to unlock additional spectrum for high-speed wireless broadband for both licensed and unlicensed spectrum use to maximize the benefits for America’s businesses and consumers.

Wednesday, February 06

Digital Learning Day

By Brad

Today is the second annual Digital Learning Day, which highlights the use of technology to support teachers and how children are benefiting from technology in the classroom. You can find more information on this important event, including activities around the country, on the Digital Learning Day website.

The bridge between technology — especially broadband — and education has long been a passion of IIA. Last summer, we hosted this webinar with Kramer Middle School principal Kwame Simmons on broadband and education:

And in October, an op-ed by Simmons — based on what was shared during the webinar — was published by the Washington Post on how his school achieved a high-tech turnaround. From the piece:

At the end of the 2011-2012 academic year, Kramer logged barely double-digit scores on the D.C. Comprehensive Assessment System (CAS): 17 percent proficient in reading and 26 percent proficient in math. The school had a much-warranted bull’s-eye on its back. But after a year of planning and a three-year School Improvement Grant and two-year Race to the Top grant from the U.S. Education Department, we have high hopes for change. Our secret weapon and education equalizer? Broadband.

Most recently, our 2013 Broadband Guide featured information on how IP-based networks are improving education in a variety of ways. From page 7 of the Guide:

Thirty-two states have virtual schools delivering online courses to students in any district in the state, according to Evergreen Consulting.  In the United States, 75 percent of school districts offer online courses in K–12 education, and student enrollments are growing at a rapid pace of 30 percent annually, reported the Sloan Consortium.

Simmon in The Root

By Brad

Our Co-Chairman Jamal Simmons has penned an op-ed for The Root on the coming transition to all-IP networks and what its effect will be on America’s still lingering digital divide. Here’s a taste:

Putting smart policies in place to promote the IP transition would help address these concerns. With the right incentives, incumbent telephone companies could invest in and build faster, more robust and more dynamic IP-based networks that would provide residential customers with additional competitive choices for video, high-speed broadband and voice services. Accelerating the IP transition would also have the positive effect of shifting the cost burden of maintaining antiquated, legacy voice networks away from voice subscribers in communities of color, who would disproportionately have to pay the costs of maintaining outdated networks without the benefit of access to new services provided by next-generation networks being built at the same time.

You can read the full op-ed over at The Root.

Wednesday, January 23

Broadband Guide for the 113th Congress


The vast majority of network upgrades and day-to-day operation of the Internet are overseen by private businesses, universities and organizations. Yet governments — domestic and international — continue to exert influence over the environment in which the Internet evolves. To provide the next generation of policy makers and leaders with the information they need to make informed decisions about Internet policy, IIA today released the “IIA 2013 Broadband Guide for the 113th Congress,” a 21-page handbook with six major sections complete with answers to common questions, definitions of technical terms and background on the importance of the Internet Protocol (IP) evolution. The Guide is being issued in conjunction with the 2013 State of the Net Conference,at which IIA founding Co-Chair Bruce Mehlman will speak today at 2:05pm ET.

“Few American innovations have changed the world more profoundly and positively than the Internet. Today more than 2.5 billion people are connected to the Internet and have access to information and opportunities that did not exist 20 years ago. It’s critical that policy makers be well-informed as they make decisions affecting the Internet in order to promote and encourage the expansion of Internet investment, access and adoption.”

IIA Honorary Chairman Rick Boucher

The Guide also includes broadband-related data points such as:

• Over the past three years, American smartphone adoption has increased from 16.9 percent to 54.9 percent, according to Nielsen.

• One out of three American homes now relies on wireless-only technologies, according to the U.S. National Health Interview Survey (NHIS).

• The tech industry added nearly 100,000 jobs from January to June 2012, a 1.7 percent increase, according to TechAmerica Foundation’s Competitiveness Series.

• As of April 2012, 66 percent of American adults had a high-speed broadband connection at home versus 11 percent a decade earlier in March 2002, according to Pew Research.

• The app economy, which didn’t even exist five years ago, now employs more than 500,000 Americans, according to research by Economist Michael Mandel.

“Innovations in broadband technology are not exclusively relegated to the wired world. Today, mobile devices act as general-purpose computers, complete with nearly 1.5 million available apps. Massive amounts of data are necessary to operate these mobile devices, and the future of lightning-fast, mobile communications depends on migrating America’s communications networks away from outdated legacy phone line networks and toward IP-based infrastructure.”

IIA Co-Chairman Bruce Mehlman

The full Guide, including a downloadable version and embeddable infographics, is available here.

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